FTC, others keep close eye on ‘Made in the USA’ labeling

Reporter: Lindsey Sablan

FORT MYERS, Fla. Lots of products are stamped “Made in the USA.”

But how many of them actually are?

It’s the job of the Federal Trade Commission to figure that out. To advertise “Made in the USA,” the parts and processing of a product must “all or virtually all” take place in the U.S. The commission has taken action against 21 companies, including one case in which steel plates were imported bearing the “Made in the USA” label.

“What we want the public to know is that we’re on the beat,” FTC Enforcement Division Director James Kohm said. “They can contact us if they see a false claim.”

Sarah Wagner has the opposite job — her website, USA Love List, identifies companies that legitimately manufacture products in America.

“When you make the choice to buy something American-made, you’re making the choice to support your country,” Wagner said.

One of the companies is in Southwest Florida — Tervis is headquartered in North Venice, where it makes its well-known tumblers.

For company president Roger Donelly, American manufacturing is not just a way to show patriotism. It’s also a more efficient way of doing business, he said.

Donelly admits it can cost more to make a product in the U.S. But Tervis doesn’t have to deal with the cost and time involved with importing, allowing Donelly to quickly respond to market trends.

“We’re able to get product out there, designed the way we want it to within a matter of hours,” Donelly said.

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